By Alicia Wanek
Some people are lucky enough to have a job that is both their vocation and their avocation. Luxury Travel Specialist Wendy Sandridge is one of those lucky few. Wendy, aka “Travel Mom Wendy,” not only loves to create amazing trips for her clients, but she also loves travel and visiting destinations around the world herself. In this case her vocation and her avocation are vacations. It really comes as no surprise that she has landed in this business; after all, she’s followed in her mother’s footsteps.
Growing up, she regularly traveled with her family, but she also had the opportunity to hear about all the amazing trips her mother Barbara was planning for her clients at the travel agency she owned and operated in Manhattan Beach, California. Barbara still works in the industry today. Wendy gained her own “travel mom” title, however, in 2004 when her own children were younger. Thinking she wanted to get a few friends together to plan a cruise for families, she ended up coordinating a trip for 385 people. That was just the beginning. Now she’s worked with thousands of clients coordinating trips around the globe, and she herself has traveled to dozens of countries.
“I have a passion for travel because I love to see new things and meet new people and see different cultures,” Wendy says. It’s evident when talking to Wendy that she is equally passionate about what she plans for her clients. “My mission is to make the clients happy…I love it when I see one of my clients posting pictures on social media of their travels, so I can see that they’re having a great time,” she shares. The way she sees it, she plays a big role in helping to create memories, and she goes above and beyond in making sure each client has personal touches that make the trip extra special.
Jordan Coleman has utilized Wendy’s services for years. “Wendy is amazing, the travel queen! We work with her on every vacation we plan. She has helped coordinate trips for me and my husband, my family, girlfriends’ trips, last-minute getaways…No matter what the occasion every experience is top-notch and memorable. Her vast connections in the industry ensure her clients always have a one-of-a-kind experience.” Wendy planned every detail of Jordan’s honeymoon through Europe. “At every hotel stop we were greeted with a welcome gift and note from our Travel Mom Wendy, always a highlight for us when checking in to a new place. Ultimately, with her assistance, the entire honeymoon felt seamless and easy, as does every vacation with her, which allowed us to fully relax and enjoy every moment stress free.”
TravelStore, of which Wendy is an independent affiliate, says, “We’ve been where you want to go.” That is certainly the case for Wendy. Now that her children are older, she’s had the freedom to travel even more. Her favorites are cruises, especially with friends. “It’s more fun to travel with a group,” she believes. Over the course of her career and her own trips, she’s been able to establish personal connections with hoteliers and suppliers, which allows her to make each trip unique, often with special perks or suggestions. Wendy helped Lisa Jeffrey plan a multi-city trip through Italy with her family. Lisa says, “Wendy has built some incredible relationships over the course of her career. Her wonderful relationships with hotel managers across Italy made every check-in a dream and scored us multiple upgrades during our trip, along with incredibly friendly service. Beyond accommodations, Wendy suggested a boat tour of the Amalfi Coast instead of a driving tour to eliminate all the steps down and up (for Dad with bi-lateral knee replacement). Our boat tour was a fantastic alternative, making everyone physically comfortable while giving my parents the opportunity to make friends with fellow travelers, as they often do! Our cooking class in Florence was much the same—great instructors, great tour of the market and terrific new friendships begun.” That’s the power of connections.
So what does her mom think of it all? Barbara says, “I’m very, very proud of her. It makes me feel very good to see her follow in my footsteps.” Barbara adds, “I think she is a phenomenal advisor, and she’s very good to all her groups.” She should know; Barbara has been to over 65 countries herself during her 43 years in the travel business. There’s little doubt where Wendy’s passion comes from. When Wendy planned that cruise that was the start of her own travel career, she could not have known that today she’d be planning honeymoons for the kids on that trip. Considering that travel is in her genes, Wendy has a lot more memories to create.
Editor’s Note: To reach Wendy Sandridge for information and very special perks on the featured locations in the 2020 Travel Planner you’ll find on the pages to follow or any other destinations around the globe, email
email@example.com or call 214.769.8177.